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Ugly: Running Out Of Ballots, Poll Hours Extended For Some City Voting Precincts, Plus: 8 p.m. Returns

November 2nd, 2010 · 38 Comments · News and Events

11 p.m. update: Unofficial numbers show Congressman Jim Himes blowing away Republican Dan Debicella in Bridgeport while running competitive in several suburban towns.

Superior Court orders half city polling places remain open until 10 p.m. It’s gonna be a long night, and into tomorrow. These precincts were open until 10:

Park City
Longfellow
Beardsley
Read
Central
Winthrop
Hallen
Hooker
Blackrock
JFK
Blackham
City Hall

Unofficial returns from 8 p.m. poll closures:

Wilbur Cross:
Malloy 778, Foley 75,
Himes 748, Debicella 63

Longfellow (partial, waiting on hand counts):
Malloy 375, Foley 63
Himes 375, Debicella 59
Musto 360, Pia 64

Marin:
Malloy 864, Foley 94
Himes 875, Debicella 89

Dunbar:
Malloy 955, Foley 44

Blackham (partial, waiting on hand counts):
Malloy 1213, Foley 483
Himes 1245, Debicella 457

Central (partial waiting on hand counts):
Malloy 1019, Foley 345
Himes 1067, Debicella 305

It’s messy out there. It’s angry. It’s ugly. Bridgeport has 25 voting precincts. Close to half have run out of ballots and voters walked away in disgust by the dozens, and it might have been hundreds before the polls close at 8 p.m. At Central High School, 5:30 p.m. the line was out the door of folks waiting for ballots to arrive. How could this happen? This is a gigantic botch job by the registrar’s office.

Pols on the ground say the Obama factor has worked, juicing many more voters to the polls following the president’s Saturday visit to the city. But election-day incompetency has thrown a grenade into voter turnout.

Black Rock School, the highest percentage turnout precinct in the city, will eclipse 50 percent. They ran out of ballots at Black Rock School as well as at Winthrop and Blackham and Read. At Black Rock they replenished with the wrong ballots before the mistake was discovered, and apparently a dozen or so of the incorrect ballots (from another state assembly district) were scanned through the voting machine. A machine was temporarily shut down until elections officials could sort it out. So now several city precincts are using copies of ballots. Copies cannot be run through the scan reader. Thousands of ballots will be set aside to be hand counted. Yikes! At Winthrop several city voters walked away in disgust over the ballot snafu. Lawyers from several campaign camps will be weighing in.

Voter performance was high in the traditional larger-turnout areas such as North End precincts Blackham and Winthrop where State Rep. Chris Caruso and supporters are directing voter turnout for the Democrats. Caruso reports that dozens of voters, primarily African Americans, walked away from polling places in disgust waiting for ballots to arrive at Read School.

One surprise area is the large turnout at City Hall, one of the city’s smallest precincts with about 900 registered voters. Many of the new downtown residents living in the Citytrust Building are coming out.

Former Town Chair John Stafstrom and former State Rep. Americo Santiago are directing the turnout operation for most of the rest of the city from Dem headquarters on North Avenue. And Town Chair Mario Testa also has a targeted get out the vote operation from his Madison Avenue restaurant.

Will it all be enough to help save Congressman Jim Himes who’s in a dogfight with Republican Dan Debicella, and help propel Dan Malloy governor? The Debicella model has him winning 16 of the 17 communities in Connecticut’s 4th Congressional District, getting blown out in Bridgeport, but winning. That model also has Debicella winning cities Stamford and Norwalk that Himes won in the Barack 2008 landslide.

The Himes model has him staying competitive in some suburban communities and running up a mega Bridgeport number. And early returns show Himes performing close in several suburban communities while blowing out Debicella in Bridgeport.

The State Senate battle between Dem incumbent Anthony Musto and GOP David Pia is a mini version of Himes v. Debicella, a district that includes all of Trumbull and portions of Bridgeport and Monroe.

Final Bridgeport Election Day registration numbers:

Democrat, 43,226; Republican, 4759; Unaffiliated, 20,111; other, 160

Total: 68,256

So many potential close races. Governor, Democrat Dan Malloy, Republican Tom Foley; U.S. Senate, Democrat Dick Blumenthal, Republican Linda McMahon; U.S. House, Democrat Jim Himes, Republican Dan Debicella; State Senate, Democrat Anthony Musto, Republican David Pia. Plus all the other state constitutional offices.

I’ll be floating around the city Election Day; if I hear of anything kooky I’ll post. Please do the same. I’ll post numbers as soon as I hear after 8 p.m. It’s a long ballot with what appears to be several close races so hunker down for a long night.

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38 Comments so far ↓

  • donj

    I will cast my ballot at Black Rock school for Malloy, Blumenthal, Himes, Musto, Auden. Like Barrack said Saturday keep America going forward and don’t go in reverse!!!

  • Mojo

    *** Vote, not even once, in person or by A/B; besides “shooting craps” is not too popular these days due to the economy & odds! *** (wink) ***

  • Local Eyes

    MOST POLLSTERS avoid or have trouble reaching the CELL PHONE USERS who would skew the results toward Democrats, right?

    What do you think?

    In a related tidbit, my polling place was almost crowded this morning. I’ve never seen such a turnout like today before.

  • donj

    Yup I don’t have a landline phone anymore, waste of money.

  • John from Black Rock

    Quick report from the field:

    Turnout is fairly heavy at Black Rock School. As of 10:15 over 450 had voted.

  • jennifer lynne

    Good Morning Lennie … nice to see you yesterday.
    Strong turnout in Milford this morning where I voted proudly for Dan Malloy!

  • Bob Walsh

    The Obama factor seems to be alive and well in Bridgeport.
    Turnout was brisk this morning at Central High and the weather outside even brisker.
    I have heard the turnout appears heavier than normal at Wilbur Cross, Geraldine Johnson and Bassick.

  • Bob Walsh

    Also Town Chair Mario Testa told me there was a 15-minute wait this morning at Blackham School.

  • donj

    John that’s a good turnout so far for a midterm. I will vote around 4 to 5 there. Passed by Blackham and turnout looked steady, turnout at Roosevelt looked busier than usual and the same goes for Longfellow and Bassick.

  • donj

    Looks like Obama added some juice to turnout.

  • Bridgeport Now

    On “Bridgeport Now TV” tonight at 8pm we will have a major Republican and Democrat on to discuss the elections, on Ch 88 on Cablevision. I have heard that the internet has has problems at Soundview and not sure they have fixed it, for those who watch online.

  • donj

    How can they run out of ballots!!! Is there high turnout???

    • BEACON2

      “How can they run out of ballots!!!”

      donj, I think you are asking a question. And I assume “they” are the people employed by the City and/or paid volunteers for the Election Cycle who staff the HQ and polls.

      The “bad ballots” were discovered by a young woman ahead of me in the voting line earlier this afternoon when she could not find Senator Musto’s name on her ballot. Initially there was incredulity in the mind and lips of the ballot handler as well as the moderator, but when they went to look more closely, sure enough there were a whole bunch of ballots ready to be handed out that were probably meant for another District polling place. Honest mistake? Don’t you think? I mean, it was an accident, wasn’t it?
      Add to that, for some reason the machine wasn’t working so I got to take my ballot out of the protective cover and stuff it into the side of the machine, where if I lingered long enough, I could probably have seen what one or two of the last voters had marked on their ballots. I say “IF” because I did not look, but I did mention it to the young man handing out the “I Voted Today” stickers. He was standing right next to the machine. Why wasn’t he beside the doorway, many feet away from the ultimate ballot recording?
      Perhaps the solution is for the City Registrar’s Office to have a drill for Murphy’s Law: “Whatever can go wrong will go wrong.” And then have a sign posted at each poll for the procedure to be followed. I will guess that people working at the polls can read. As can most of the people coming to vote. But in a time when the dead can vote and sometimes more than once, it is also time for there to be open and transparent process when things are operating poorly as well as breaking down. Our minds have become attuned to the storied actions of those behind the scenes who can make a mockery of our “one person, one vote” ideal. Everything possible needs to be done to return a feeling of confidence to the voting public.
      So perhaps you don’t require a high turnout to turn the tables on adequate and efficient process?

  • donj

    Read School has run out of ballots!!!

  • town committee

    ONLY IN BRIDGEPORT

  • Sue

    Called Testo’s and asked about the GOTV–staff had no idea what I was talking about. I was inspired to blog the action for MyLeftNutmeg. Could you see what’s up with that?

  • donj

    Just voted and I am so disappointed at how Black Rock handled it, they ran out of ballots again.

  • keninnorthend

    Is it really the “Mayhem in Bridgeport” that CTCapitolReport.com says???

  • Serpico

    Fargin’ Tea Party-ers — stole the ballots.

  • town committee

    How could half the ballot places run out of ballots? That’s a disgrace. People going home frustrated and unable to vote, that borders on criminal. Whose fault is it? That’s an easy one, it’s the Registrar of Voter’s fault pure and simple. Then to add salt to the wounds the wrong ballots are delivered to one of the schools and these ballots are minus Musto’s name. What happens if this is a really close election where the vote difference is only a few votes? Someone has to be responsible and pay the price for this monumental screwup.
    Why is it always Bridgeport, damn it?

  • town committee

    Mayor Finch reported that the registrar’s office only printed up 21,000 ballots for this election. That seems kind of stupid when you see there are over 60,000 registered voters in Bridgeport. Mayor Finch is asking the state to keep the polls open until 10PM but that’s not going to help the people who went home without voting. How will they know the polling hours were extended if they are?

  • donj

    Disgusted with the register of voters how they handled today. I’m going to file a claim of how today was handled you could literally see other people’s votes like this guy said at Black Rock this is bullshit!!!

  • BPT 1

    Per the Secretary of State, their recommendation is that the Registrar should order one ballot for each registered voter. Unfortunately, Bridgeport ordered 21,000 ballots for 69,000 registered voters. WOW. How much negative publicity can this city generate in one week???

  • Serpico

    We now know for sure Obama ain’t coming back to Bridgeport for dinner, eh Bill?

    Can’t this damn city do anything right?

  • Serpico

    SUBY’s driving the bus that BPT is under. Once again the laughingstock of the state and the nation. Wait until the election is over, this is the calm before the “guess who’s coming to dinner” storm.

  • Local Eyes

    I’m not too bright.

    I’m lost.

    Why did Debicella get discouraged?

    www .cnn.com/ELECTION/2010/results/state/#CT <— Connecticut elections.

  • donj

    I did not expect Himes to do so well, I credit Barack for the strong turnout.

  • Local Eyes

    www .cnn.com/ELECTION/2010/results/state/#CT <— the numbers are wacky–I need guidance. The empty streets of chaos are my viewscape.

  • JustMe

    So now CT’s government is full of Dems with a Repub-controlled house. Obama has absconded to India. And Bridgeport has become a major laughing stock second time this week. Keep electing Dems, nothing will ever change, but then again, maybe you all don’t want it to change. You’re comfortable in your swamp.

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